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MY feelings exactly but believers are going to believe.

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Excellent post as usual. Your international comparisons look at means, what about variances? Does Finland, for example, with an exceptionally egalitarian and high quality system have lower outcome variance than the US? Also, if I'm remembering right, work by James Heckman and collaborators suggests that certain types of interventions do work well, such as working directly with parents to enrich home environments. Is this not the case?

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author

You can check the linked post for my gloss on the big picture. I've also written about school funding, pre-K, class size, and many other interventions here, as well as in the book. You have to understand that for a half-century the pattern has been for people to discover something that appears to work, everybody rushes to get on that train and fund it, results don't appear, and then later research sheepishly finds that it was a mirage. Among other things, I'm trying to get people to take that tendency seriously and think it over.

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I agree and commend your effort to do so. I think Heckman's work is roughly consistent with what you're saying, there is a short term boost in academic performance that eventually fades but long term benefits in employment, earnings, and avoidance of incarceration.

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Finland has gotten much worse in that regard. The gaps in reading skills between sexes and between natives and immigrants were the largest among OECD countries in the 2018 PISA results. One reason is the increase in non-native speakers that the school system struggles to integrate, but many Finnish natives, especially boys, show increasingly poor outcomes as well.

"The reading skills gap between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups in Finland was 79 points in the latest survey. This corresponds to a difference of two years of schooling.

This outcome is due to the fact that the results of the lowest socioeconomic quarter have deteriorated between 2009 and 2018, while those of the highest quarter have remained the same."

https://yle.fi/a/3-11100956

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Very interesting. If not money or poverty or pedagogy, what does explain the large disparities in academic performance across countries?

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author

Probably a vast number of discrete variables of little individual effect. Which of course makes the gaps far harder to close. But do we really need to close them?

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Culture.

A culture of discipline and self control. Which is in my mind why Asian countries, observant Jews, and heavily Mormon areas excel in academic performance.

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Mar 19, 2023·edited Mar 19, 2023

Then how do you explain the findings of adoption studies? Kids adopted at birth end up far more like their biological parents than their adoptive parents.

As for Mormons, rebellious Mormon kids just leave Mormonism so the selection bias is pretty strong in favor of conformity.

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Both biology and environment contribute. A cultural emphasis on test taking and academics is going to effect both gifted and mediocre students.

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They resemble their adopted parents less than they would have if they were biological children. However, they still end up better off than if they hadn’t been adopted. Environment does not tell the whole story--at all--but it still matters quite a bit.

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founding

I'll set aside Asian countries, but the Mormon and Jewish examples are due to selection bias. It takes discipline and self control to be part of the community in the first place. The rebels, troublemakers, and black sheep either leave or get kicked out. Until recently, most cultures just killed off or banished the troublemakers.

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"The rebels, troublemakers, and black sheep either leave or get kicked out. Until recently, most cultures just killed off or banished the troublemakers."

Yes, exactly. However in the 60s, Hollywood and the media pushed rebellion, to make abandonment of discipline acceptable in the US. Loss of discipline, formality, custom. This didn't take effect immediately, but grew over time, and here we are.

In previous times, to be excluded from society, the community probably meant you were cast out of the Burgh or walled city, to be picked upon by bandits and outlaws. One needed permission just to enter a Burgh, and an invite to live there. To be an outcast was to be forced into a life of hazard, kicked out of the gene pool.

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founding

Aren't education systems in other countries more gated than in the US? Students have to pass an exam to get to the next level. In Germany for example, students are evaluated at the end of elementary and placed into one of three tiers of high schools. The UK used to have a similar system--they had what they called "grammar schools" that were the equivalent of college preparatory high schools, but the tiered system was phased out in the 1970's in favor of comprehensive schools. Freddie has already noted that the UK spends more money and has poorer outcomes than S. Korea--but Korea has a tiered secondary system and students are tracked into either academic or technical schools.

I'm no expert--I just did some googling---but it seems to me that in comparing across countries we're comparing tiered systems to comprehensive systems, with of course the non-selective systems looking worse because they aren't cherry-picking the bright kids.

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Look at PISA scoring. It's supposed to be a general sample instead of one that only pulls from one segment of the population and Asian countries still perform at the top of the rankings.

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I very much enjoyed your piece & agree that most interventions to improve Ed outcomes are targeting the wrong aspect of development. However, you imply that genes alone are responsible for variation in performance. This misses the interaction between children and environments. Such interactions have an exponential effect on things like stress and resource utilization. Any intervention that fails to consider the interacting nature of children and the environment they are in is likely to fail (as most of those you describe have done so). In health care research we talk relentlessly about the social determinants of health (sdoh) as these factor as much as 80% in health outcomes. I would be surprised if they didn’t have a similar effect on education outcomes.

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author

"you imply that genes alone are responsible for variation in performance"

I absolutely, 100% do not imply that. Read my book or the thousands of words I've published here on the subject

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“ Such interactions have an exponential effect on things ”

Adoption studies don’t show that.

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author

The immediate question is always, if there's someone that really works... why had no one done it already?

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I've said the same thing about political and economic systems, that if there were a one size fits all ideal, we would have found it after some 5,000 years of human history.

Most likely, any system can be made to work tolerably well, if and to the extent run by non-sociopaths.

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Ugh. Every system of political economy is going to have a mixed bag of achievement against multiple metrics. However, achievement will vary based on the tech, educational, immediate history, geographical, labour structure context, among other contexts. Some systems will not only perform better over a wider range of circumstances, they will also have greater resiliency with respect to change.

So no, there isn't a one-size-fits-all ideal. But there are clearly some systems of political economy that routinely outperform others.

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I come from a family of educators, and we have all experienced the bad effects of optimism bias. My dad was a middle-school principal for decades, and his school had to hire two paraprofessionals whose main job was to change diapers for the profoundly disabled kids who attended the school. My dad was so frustrated by the district officials’ apparent belief that these kids would obtain any benefit whatsoever from a regular public school. My mom was a special-ed teacher whose job it was to help high school kids pass a basic literacy test in order to graduate. Every year she had around thirty students who were functionally illiterate. And in my own time as a teacher in an elite private high school, I knew that some kids, in spite of having every economic advantage as well as excellent teachers (if I do say so myself) would struggle with reading comprehension and essay writing.

The saddest aspect of optimism bias is that it is misplaced. Education reformers misguidedly believe that all children can achieve in narrowly-defined academic topics--literature, math, science, expository writing--when if only they were to broaden their understanding of ability and achievement, schools could serve all kids and offer instruction in all areas where kids have talent.

I am old enough to have gone to public school in the days of academic tracking, when schools not only adapted academic classes to students’ intrinsic abilities, but also offered classes in shop and home economics and allowed kids to leave campus for apprenticeships, vocational education, and part-time jobs. These students enjoyed being able to learn about topics where they had interest and talent, and it is not bigoted want to offer students these opportunities now.

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I think that all students would benefit from exposure home economics and shop classes, and those who show a proclivity should be provided opportunities to further that aspect of their education, should they choose to.

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I agree! I had to take shop and home ec, and I enjoyed and got a lot out of those classes--especially print-making.

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Mar 19, 2023·edited Mar 20, 2023

I think that a major reason that shop classes, at least, have largely disappeared is not just teach-to-the-state-test but the real world fact that in even the best run shop classes there will be blood spattering, finger crushing, injuries, burns, etc. What modern upper class parents and malpractice lawyers would allow the extent and type if injuries I saw in shop?

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Ha! You are taking me back to my days in metal-working class. It’s a miracle we all survived (mostly) unscathed!

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I think it's also possible that there's an increasing lack of people qualified to teach such classes.

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There needs to be a class on consumer economics. Layaway, credit cards, hidden fees, even utility payments. I immigrated from another developed country to the US and the complexity here is stunning.

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My high school had a class like this! It was called Consumer Math, and students could graduate from high school by taking Algebra 1 in 9th grade and a semester of Consumer Math (which covered compound interest, how to do your taxes, basic budgeting, and similar topics) in 10th grade--and no other math. A few of my friends took the class and said that it was really useful.

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I was taught all about this in economics and math classes. You can understand credit cards if you understand compound interest, a topic that is taught in math classes several times over, and you can understand the existence of the credit system if you have a basic understanding of economics (another class required in high school). The problem is that many kids just don't pay any attention, which is why I think it is also important that these topics are openly discussed at home to reinforce this learning. Everything starts at home. If you are personally looking for a great financial primer, I recommend the book The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins, it's fantastic!

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Teaching compound interest in math class is probably only really informative to the kids that like math--everyone else is just memorizing a formula for the test.

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Right, but my main point is that it is a bullshit complaint that schools don't teach you any life skills like dealing with credit. The real issue is that kids don't really care about it unless they find it inherently easy or are already interested. Credit cards are for adults and adulthood might as well be a billion years away to them! I think what people really want is spoon feeding and somewhere to blame the fact that they went headfirst into credit without doing the due diligence of learning how it works themselves (and hey, I totally made that mistake as a young adult and had to learn a hard lesson).

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Ah, tracking. We need to bring that back please. Instead we are going the opposite direction and I am regularly teaching linear equations to 9th graders who have trouble adding fractions.

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You write: “that the most natural and simplest explanation for this tendency is that there is such a thing as individual academic potential; and that the most likely source of this individual academic potential is genes.”

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author

I'm sorry I trust people to do a little minimal research into what I've said and believe before they come here to lecture me, sorry if you can't rise to that standard.

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Thanks, be well

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author

There i updated the post for you

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It’s super weird to me (someone who has no investment in or background in educational policy) how we all know genes matter... except for the magical exception that genes don’t effect academic ability. I can’t imagine any other explanation for this total denial of obvious reality except for personal and professional incentives to pretend otherwise.

Thanks for being honest about it Freddie.

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Half of your argument is that there is a bell-shaped curve in human educational performance, and that even if you could shift the curve to the right a bit, the individuals in the distribution would not change their relative position. (This is an argument we all accept in other arenas of performance when we talk about “talent” like music or athletics.). The other half of the argument is harder to accept: due to so many societal/structural factors, we have not and cannot really even shift the curve to the right a little. You have let the data argue that persuasively but it is sad.

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author

Oh the curve is shifting to the right. To pick a salient example, Black kids today easily outperform Black kids from 30 years ago. The trouble is, white kids keep learning too. Gaps can't close unless someone improves education for some kids and not for others. Personally, I just think we should focus on other things.

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Is the goal for gaps to close or for everyone to be a better thinker than those of prior generations?

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Thank you. That is a vital point and apparently needs to be made more strongly -- we are winning in that we are educating more and better (but so is everyone else). The reality is that this is an point of contention not because we have a Gaussian distribution of educational performance but because who is uncomfortably where on the curve.

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Mar 19, 2023·edited Mar 25, 2023

I think it's reasonable that you want to prioritize other things, but also I'm unsurprised BAG missed this point given the above piece (I found it much more clear in your book).

For me shifting the curve to the right is a sufficient reason to spend and I do suspect that spending merely at the minimum viable level would greatly undercut that. I might be wrong there and some of your arguments re: state spending raise that possibility, but I have a hard time judging when you're countering relative gains vs. absolute gains.

Also a bit of googling suggests that South Korean students put a ton of time into cram schools: https://www.internations.org/south-korea-expats/guide/education which seems with mentioning, if possibly complicating, when taking about international comparisons. As I recall, your book argued that test prep wasn't value added but that tutoring could be ( albeit expensively ).

I find your writing here valuable, but two stepping in a way that [unintentionally] undercuts the obvious respect you have for teaching as a form of labor. I think pieces like this would lead to less confusion of you were clearer about outcomes you don't think we should focus on versus outcomes that we can't reasonably hope to achieve. You do it well in this brief comment and it's much clearer in the book.

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Black 4th and 8th graders easily outperform black kids from 30 years ago? I'd say rather black 4th and 8th graders easily outperform black kids from 50 years ago.

Black 12th graders, not so much. 12th grade NAEP scores in all races have flatlined for decades. Brief boost in the 80s. https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2020/10/05/bush-obama-ed-reform-core-damage/

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I have a theory of your theory: The only reason we need this optimism bias is to save us from seeing what’s in front of us: In a contemporary American economic system in which job security (and upward, if not merely stable socioeconomic mobility) depends on having collegiate degree(s), there is a predictable proportion of students for which these academic achievements are unattainable, and so many labor-intensive manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to other countries — there will therefore predictably be a class of Americans for which dignified, stable, non-intellectual job security does not exist. Optimism bias in education is simply a recasting of the American “bootstraps” mentality, rebranded in an era in which academic tickets to the economy are the only way in!

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I think that's basically the argument Freddie is making, ultimately: that we are using education as the excuse for why we don't recognize that we, as a society, simply have a responsibility to provide for those who simply aren't as fortunate when it comes to academic abilities. If I'm reading correctly, Freddie is arguing that education is a fig leaf that covers the recognition that massive redistribution (massively more than we already have) is necessary for justly caring for all individuals.

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author

More or less, yes.

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And just as with education, the sudden curtailment and silence of the wildly touted UBI programs shows there's an optimism problem there too.

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Not only massive redistribution by transfer programs, but massive predistribution in paying living wages for the non-academic, non-professional labor society actually relies on.

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founding

Yes and.....

People who self select into education tend to be idealists, and anecdotally to me (there may be data on this--it would be really interesting to see if it's true) seem to be first generation college grads. That could explain the blind spot--because THEY made it to college and they came from humble backgrounds, it should be achievable for all kids from humble backgrounds.

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Yeah, no. I mean, every bit of it. No.

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I am far from an expert, but I seem to recall decades of educational nostrums, all operating on premise that all we gotta do is fix this and our schools will work again.

I have always thought that education begins with us, starting with our earliest days. Schooling can polish and focus that, but it can't pour in insight like programming an AI computer.

Did not Frank Zappa teach the masses:

"Go to college if you want to to get laid.

Go to the library if you want to to get an education."

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founding

Yeah, when I was in high school old people were ranting about how much things had been "watered down" since they were in school. Well yes they were, because in the 1940's not everybody was expected to graduate from high school. By the '70's they were expected to educate people that would have left after 8th grade and gone to work sweeping floors in the local factory. Now we're doing that to colleges since apparently college is the new high school.

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Perhaps not. But your piece says that it would be possible to erase the racial achievement gap in the US with social welfare policies so something makes a difference, even if it’s not school based.

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And the implied solution here is something he's decried (rightly) in education: throw money at the problem.

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author

Check that chart about Social Security: giving people money works.

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Fair enough: poverty is the definition of not having money. It seems pretty natural that throwing money at that problem would fix it.

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I among many readers agree that massive redistribution beat old-age poverty. I among many readers agree massive redistribution would beat all poverty. I among many readers agree these commitments have absolutely nothing to do with people's smarts or skills, and this is how we are totally apart from the equal-opportunity meritocrats that have dominated American liberalism from Jefferson to Obama. However, and unrelatedly, the post says that such spending would defeat at least some achievement gaps, which is very much contrary to your claim poverty doesn't seem to affect test scores.

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My read is that there are factors other than intelligence / “scholastic predisposition” that feed into the current state of individual pupils’ performance because performance can be depressed by circumstances. Those deficiencies are, in the US, largely not a matter of education methods but of other base forms of inequality. Once those be issues are solved, those outlier groups will merge into the mainstream distribution. Basically, educational attainment is hard-limited by one’s capabilities and soft-limited by one’s circumstances. Education will not help someone overcome their hard limits, and in our current situation, education is not the limiting factor in our soft limits.

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Is your book in (or coming to) paperback? I can only see hardback on Book Depository and Amazon.

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author

Due to the aforementioned poor sales it won't be coming to paperback.

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Ah, I'll grab the Kindle edition

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Bought your book based on this post. Maybe *Cult of Smart* is just a sleeper.

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I think excelling in the classroom is an end unto itself and predictive of absolutely nothing moving forward. It doesn't predict how much money you will make, how happy you will be, what kind of parent you will be, what kind of employee you will be, anything.

This all goes back to the obsession with college in this country. Get the best grades, the highest SAT scores so you can go to a great college and get a good job working for some great company. The end result of that is this elite vs working class divide that has all of us at each other's throats in this country.

I believe we need to go back to identifying skill sets and start leaning into it at a much earlier age. Call me an antique but I think there is self fulfillment in being good at something. It is a much shorter road going from good to great than it is going from bad to great.

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. When your toilet is overflowing or your car breaks down on the side of the road, the person who can make that problem go away is pretty damn important in that moment and you probably don't give a shit about what his English score was on the SAT.

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I disagree that excelling in the classroom is not predictive. However, I strongly agree that we should be less obsessed with college and more attuned to matching students with their strengths.

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"I think excelling in the classroom is an end unto itself and predictive of absolutely nothing moving forward. It doesn't predict how much money you will make

Doesn't it pretty explicitly predict that?

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Childhood academic success is absolutely correlated with IQ, which is correlated with adult income.

In fact, studies have shown that higher IQ means better work productivity across all jobs, even manual labor - though the boost in performance is smaller in jobs requiring less education.

There is really no upside anywhere to being dim unfortunately. That said, plenty of positive human traits - like being a happy, emotionally stable person, or not being an asshole - don't correlate with intelligence at all.

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founding

We've created a system that selects for people that are very quick to find the cheese at the end of the college admissions maze. Yes, there is cognitive ability needed but the system also rewards a kind of ratlike cunning and adaptability that unfortunately means some very mean and bad people end up being rewarded with Ivy League credentials (not gonna say education) which they then believe entitles them to run things.

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founding

Could it be that the reason the optimism bias is so hard to overcome is that until very recently (in historical terms), lots of students WERE dismissed and ignored as "slow." Are education policy people overcorrecting for the errors of their grandparents?

There WAS a lot of human potential that was not harnessed..and whether or not you got an opportunity to go to school was highly dependent on where you lived and whether your parents could afford to feed you while you were going to school. Of my four grandparents, two did not have any formal education past the eighth grade, but all four were highly intelligent, widely read, and worked like demons to make sure their kids could go to college. In the 1970's when I was in high school, recalcitrant but very bright kids like me were often shunted into voc-tech rather than college because it was still seen as a perfectly good outcome--college wasn't seen as the one successful outcome because you could still be a contributing more-or-less middle class person with a high school education.

I am violently in agreement that there is a range of cognitive abilities from very low to very high. The "system," which I think of as the "school to career" pipeline--the idea that society will invest in a kid so that the kid will end up paying taxes and not go around breaking shit---has evolved over time. The bell curve has shifted rightward. Where a generation ago you could have a modestly comfortable life without the mental horsepower to pass high school algebra, now you can't graduate until you can get through that cognitive gateway. There was a huge freakout in the 1980's about our "failing schools" and things pivoted rather quickly from the lax standards in place when I graduated high school and what my younger stepsisters had to do. Math requirements went from 2 years to 4 years. Foreign language went from zero to two years. More academic credit requirements crowded out things like P.E, shop, and music. Things have only ratcheted up since then, and more and more kids are struggling since they are being asked to do work that they simply can't do--it's like being told to run five miles in order to graduate when you can barely huff around the track.

Maybe it's time to pivot and start freaking out about other things rather than smarts---as of last year, 78% of 18 year olds didn't meet the standard for military service due to obesity, drug use, or mental health conditions. Schools have ignored the whole person for a generation and have been fixated on academics. Now we have a bunch of fat miserable kids. Get them outside and moving around and start measuring progress on physical competence. Can they ride a bike? Can they sew on a button? Can they cook a meal? Can they run a mile without stopping? Adolescents need to develop competence in order to evolve into healthy adults. The role of public schools is to encourage that development so that our society doesn't end up with too many people going around breaking shit.

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author

I think that's correct, yes.

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Mar 19, 2023·edited Mar 19, 2023

This is also probably true of the stereotypical poor Asian shopkeeper / restauranter immigrant parents whose kids end up outperforming their socioeconomic status. I imagine the parents never had the educational opportunities in their origin countries and probably would have tested well on natural aptitude tests.

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founding

And you have to be REALLY smart to immigrate. It's very difficult to scrape up the resources and jump through all of the bureaucratic hoops.

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Or maybe just determined.

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don't forget brave

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Possibly greedy.

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Desperate is more like it, in the case of illegal immigration.

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A lot of immigrants do have education. When I went back to the low income area I used to work in, the immigrants have transformed it with thriving businesses. The parents immigrated so their children would have more opportunity.

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I'd rather not carry on a conversation in terms of stereotypes. Or by referencing the term "Asian", which is not an ethnic category. "Asian" is a geographic arc that extends from Afghanistan to Japan, passing through India and China, the two most populous nations on the planet.

Humans- and I freely include myself here- do Montage really, really, poorly. Our default is Stereotype- the single, solid monolithic image. Model Minority Anecdote stories happen to be terribly unhelpful, to the extent that they encourage stereotypical thinking.

Montage is the only way to provide any counterweight to that tendency; even though we do it poorly, we have to attempt some recollection that we're dealing with millions of immigrant arrivals- annually- not just a stereotype image of any one particular ethnic group who arrived with only a couple of suitcases, a dream, and a natural aptitude for math and science.

The reality is that (legal) immigrants often accept a lower "socioeconomic status" in their new national home in spite of their former occupation in their country of origin, and in spite of the high level of education they might bring to American shores. (A non-English speaker highly literate in their native language still maintains an advantage over an illiterate/semiliterate/aliterate American; the fact of an advanced level of achievement is the crucial factor, no matter the language used.)

This is not the immigration of the 19th century. Many of the legal immigrants to this country nowadays are not only educated but English-fluent, and they've brought their own money with them.The newcomers are also typically drawing on extensive networks of social capital (really, how do you think most of them could afford to open a restaurant or market without that advantage? They're often able to draw on both startup capital and a target customer base within their immigrant community.) Chain immigration is a real thing; any naturalized citizen in this country obtains the opportunity to invite the immediate family members- parents, siblings and their children- who remain in their country of origin to immigrate, as well. The bureaucratic wheels are greased for that process.

Beyond that, some of the new arrivals are not only well-educated and arriving with monetary savings; they're outright wealthy. The nonresident tuition they pay for their children's education is supporting a lot of American public colleges and universities (since so much of the former investments in higher education have been shifted elsewhere; as of the late 1990s, the decrease in the funding of California universities had tracked the increase in the prison budget with an approximately 1:1 inverse correlation.) As with just every nation I can think of the US loves wealthy immigrants. The US is also exceptionally friendly to foreign property investment, both business and residential. There's so much foreign money- much of it flight capital- parked in American real estate that it's played a major role in distorting property values in Florida, NYC, and San Francisco. And elsewhere.

Also, some of the "Asian" immigrants are still struggling. The Hmong immigrants from the highlands of Southeast Asia came from a mostly nonliterate culture; while there are some extraordinary examples of Hmong students who excel academically, many of them have gone gangster. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/hmong-american-community-power-privilege-place-asian-america-n1227431

Few people realize that there are substantial numbers of illegal immigrants to the US from China, and a burgeoning people smuggling trade. The Chinese illegals are, shall we say, very seldom enrolled in STEM programs and on their way to earning university scholarships.

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I've seen this time and time again. Asian kids go from poor families to good colleges (even with the affirmative action disadvantage) and become successful. Culture matters.

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I've observed it time and again, too. And I agree, "culture matters" (although a statement that vague says very little about the particular aspects that make the crucial difference, and I prefer more specificity when someone offers a response to a post of mine. We aren't constrained by Twitter-length post limits and their soundbite conventions here.)

But my points stand. The impressive track record of achievement of a good many post-1975 (legal) immigrants to the US- from anywhere in the world- cannot simply be reduced to the "culture" they brought with them.

The poor immigrant families to New York City from Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe in the 19th century also often brought a home culture of piety, respect for parental authority, frugality, and industry to our shores, and many of their children ended up running wild in the streets. There was a lot of attrition. The situation had improved considerably by the early 20th century, but it went downhill for years on end before things turned around.

Read Herbert Asbury's social histories. It isn't material that's included in any American History high school textbook. It tends to be passed over in silence in college introductory history courses, too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gangs_of_New_York_(book)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Asbury

https://archive.org/details/gangsofnewyorkin0000asbu

Read the book The Heroic Gangster, a book that's presented as biography, but which is at least as worthy as a social history. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18154531-the-heroic-gangster

And G~d bless the American tradition of freedom of speech, because a lot of countries don't allow for the disclosure of the shadow side of their national history nearly as readily. Asbury drew much of his information from accounts he found in the newspaper and magazine archives of public libraries.

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I know many people who aren't able to succeed in academic high school settings, for a wide range of reasons, including a lack of mental horse power and huge home sociological disfunction being two factors amongst them.

These real challenges wouldn't be a life destroying problem if we valued and respected construction workers, homemakers, etc., to the extent we did in the past.

A more even wage or income spread and elites respecting the honest hands-on family supporting work would go a long way to solving this. This lack of respect, even if formal respect only, is now ubiquitous amongst the white colar elites. Sadly, I see that this intense disdain for fly-over-people is strongest amongst wokesters. In fact, I think that this trend largely explains the intense loss of blue collar voter suppirt for the woke identifying Democrats amongst all racial grouos.

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Sharing:

“The New Normal”: New York to Lower Math and English Proficiency Standards Due to Poor Test Results"

https://jonathanturley.org/2023/03/17/the-new-normal-new-york-to-lower-math-and-english-proficiency-standards-due-to-poor-test-results/

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My oldest is getting ready for Kindergarten, and I was informed that she will only get 15 min of recess per day. This means that after school, I will have to drag her to the playground with her siblings to make sure she's getting enough exercise. She won't have nearly as much fun because there won't be a bunch of kids there she already knows to play with.

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Mar 20, 2023·edited Mar 20, 2023

"Can they ride a bike? Can they sew on a button? Can they cook a meal? Can they run a mile without stopping?"

But...but...none of these are digital!

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Jenn, I love this comment! Especially bc I'm a dyslexic. And this is why the sentence towards the beginning of this article that gives "genetics" as the reason for academic excellency (quote is below) is still too hard to look passed, only because it is being said while we are still living inside this sick, educational hellscape. Freddie, I'm sorry if I keep harping about that one, little sentence, but it's not okay with me to move toward Jenn's new, rational way without first acknowledging the mistake we have made of equating academic excellence with superiority in the socioeconomic spectrum. And if YOU (someone who's mind I trust so much) cannot get it right in an article then it's still not cool. Can't you say something like "...most likely influenced by genes [and generational behaviors that were passed down]"?

Here is the original quote: "there is such a thing as individual academic potential; and that the most likely source of this individual academic potential is [edit] likely influenced by genes".

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As someone who is a big fan of The Nurture Assumption, I've always wondered if educational reforms that help control for peer effects could help. I mean, a lot of how students act is based upon the acculturation from older students, which can be maladaptive academically. What happens when a new school is set up de novo with a kindergarten, adding grades only as the first cohort ages up? Similarly, is there any comprehensive difference in performance between boarding schools and regular schools, once SES is accounted for? I could see this as a possibility given it limits exposure to any peer groups outside of school.

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Mar 19, 2023·edited Mar 19, 2023

I don’t really understand how people think about IQ. 7 million Americans have an IQ below 70 which qualifies them for SSI as they are considered intellectually disabled. 45 million Americans have an IQ below 85 and are thus unable to join the military. What do people think life is like for someone with an IQ of 77?

I saw a comment from an educator working with a child who was struggling mightily with academics and they were certain this meant the education system had failed them. My thought was why would the possibility that they have very low ability not be considered?

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founding

Seven million people sounds like a huge number, but it's only 2% of the total population. Assuming the 45 million you cite is inclusive of the 7 million, that's still only 13.5% of the total. I am quite sure a huge wealthy country like ours can take care of the bottom 2% and find places where the next 12% or so can contribute. It's fairly common to see people with Down's Syndrome working in grocery stores.

The educational system IS failing the bottom 20% by insisting that they meet academic standards that have nothing to do with the ability to show up and cheerfully do some kind of mundane job that would drive most people crazy. Those stacks of oranges in the produce aisle sure aren't stacking themselves.

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Mar 19, 2023·edited Mar 19, 2023

“ and find places where the next 12% or so can contribute”

Sure but it’s very difficult from them to provide enough economic value to justify a living wage with benefits. They can provide some value and live with dignity if their wages and benefits are adequately supplemented.

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founding

Maybe there should be a higher floor for full time wages, so that anybody working a full time job can live in basic dignity. The government should not be subsidizing shitty employers.

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Subsidizing shitty employers? It sounds like you are suggesting that the employers should pay people more than their labor is worth. The government SHOULD subsidize them if this is what we want.

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IQ is a mathematical curve. By definition, there will always be 2% of the population that has an IQ of 70.

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